Professor Robert Beckford
Address: Department of Theology & Religious Studies
King's College London
Virginia Woolf Building
Research interests and PhD supervision
Robert Beckford PhD is professor of Religion and Culture in the African diaspora in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, at Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury, Kent, and Visiting Professor at Kings College, London.
Beckford is scholar-activist researching the intersections of faith and racial justice in and through diverse media texts.
He has written a dozen books which triangulate the fields of theology, cultural studies and politics.
Beckford is a BAFTA award winning documentary filmmaker. He has written and presented over twenty films for the BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery USA. His films explore a range of themes including political critiques of the British Empire, biblical history and popular culture.
Robert’s creative reach extends into drama and black British urban music production. In 2017 his debut radio drama was broadcast on the BBC Regions. ‘Jesus Piece’ is a fictional account of a reformed gang member turned Pentecostal preacher-detective. Beckford’s current research is a practical theo-musicological project ‘The Jamaican Bible Remix Project.’ Taking the form of a studio album, the project inscribes black liberation theology in urban music (grime, drum and bass, and UK Soul).
- Religion and resistance in the African and African Caribbean Diaspora.
- Theology and Popular Culture.
- Documentary film theory and practice
Robert is a founding member of the Black Theology Movement in Britain, and his research interests include the socio-political and religious-cultural dimensions of black experience. As a firm believer in practice, Robert is interested in action-research methodologies which seek to disrupt existing theologies and social relations. His current postgraduate students are researching:
- Spirituality of reggae dancehall dance moves
- Liberation theology for travelling communities
- Black Alpha Course
- Theology and Black Lives Matter
- Ethiopian eunuch in the western imagination
Jamaican Bible Remix.
(Studio album) 5AM Records, 2017.
‘Is David Starkey Right? Or has the Jamaican Language Movement Lost its Mind? Language and Atonement.’ In Kehnide Andrews and Lisa Palmer (eds), Blackness in Britain. London: Routledge, 2016.
‘The Battle for Christianity.’ (1x60 mins television documentary) BBC 1. 2016.
‘The Divinity of Haile Selassie.’ (1x27 mins radio documentary) BBC World Service, 2015.
Documentary as Exorcism: Resisting the Bewitchment of Colonial Christianity. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.
Expertise and public engagement
I teach modules in Political Theology, Theology and Popular Culture and Theology and Social Justice.
Broadly speaking, my expertise is in the field of black Christian experience in Britain with an emphasis on political engagement. My research is published across a variety of media texts including music, documentary film, radio documentary and radio drama.
My current research in urban music and black theology is a public engagement project available to download or to view online.
- A BBC radio documentary on the album (‘Jamaican Bible Remixed’)
- Music videos accompanying the album, (‘The Incarnation,’ ‘Magnificat,’ and ‘Work of the Spirit’) are available to view at Cantebury.ac.uk/Jamaican-Bible-Remix.
My radio drama, ‘Jesus Piece’ (4 x 15 mins, BBC Regions) is available to listen to at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05483xw